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Forever...in only nine and a half hours

Eight towns, twin cities and a bicycle made for two - with a magistrate and his mate for Forever Manchester

Published on August 11th 2009.

Forever...in only nine and a half hours

A tandem bike ride on a sunny Sunday, around Greater Manchester’s ten town halls.

Paul Nielsen of Yorkshire Bank (and a Manchester magistrate) and his mate Mike Rowley wanted to raise some cash for Forever Manchester, which funds all sorts of community projects in Greater Manchester.

So what?
It’s the charity challenge equivalent of ‘the staycation’. Gary Barlow and chums may have taken on Kilimanjaro, but to support local neighbourhoods, an epic journey through glorious Greater Manchester was appropriate.

A tandem isn’t serious biking equipment, though, is it?
Undoubtedly it adds a comedy factor, with the guys, having only just hired the bike, wobbling away from Albert Square in the early hours of Sunday. Man owes much to the tandem though, given it was originally a courting bike. In the late nineteenth century as a young man in search of a wife, you needed transport to widen your hunting ground beyond the limits of your village. Then, to avoid a cosy cup of tea with the potential in-laws, you could whisk your beloved away on your love machine. She always took the front seat – hardly appropriate to have her looking at your backside – and you would steer from the rear...er...looking at her backside. This way, it was also harder to forget your precious cargo, as Paul did once, leaving Fallowfield without Mike and wondering why the load was lighter but the pedalling harder.

Give us the facts about this journey then?
75 miles were covered, using 5,500 calories (equivalent to 11 Big Macs) per rider, rising through 3,000 feet and taking nine and a half hours.

How long?
Well, six and a half hours of actual bike riding given the stops at the Town Halls, and also at pesky traffic lights, not a problem for your nineteenth century gigolo. Then there were the locals to contend with.

What were the locals up to?
Reaching Wigan mid-afternoon, a bloke tried to knock the guys off their tandem by throwing a bike at them. He’d had more than a couple of pints it seems, but at least he picked a weapon in keeping with the theme of the event.

Ok, so the guys have done well
Yes, and it’s not too late to sponsor them www.justgiving.com or if you want to complete your own challenge, visit forevermanchester.com or email info@forevermanchester.com.

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CasAugust 11th 2009.

Well done guys! Mancon - 2 weeks today I'll be mid way through a London to Paris bike ride (500km), if we're victorius (and it's one of those, if it kills us we'll do it things) can you give our charity a bit of web space? Please. Thanks.

CasAugust 11th 2009.

It's Derian House children's hospice, don't worry if it's too much. Not sure I fancy pics of me in my cycling gear on the web anyway!

Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 11th 2009.

Which charity is it Cas? The whole site could turn charity-tastic if we aren't careful. Forever Manchester are good because they fit with us nicely - like us they are of the city and for the city.

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